July 8, 2014

NETHERLANDS: Three Congolese Who Had Applied For Political Asylum After Testifying Returned To The Democratic Republic Of Congo (DRC).

Star Africa
written by Staff
Monday July 7, 2014

Three Congolese who had applied for political asylum after testifying in the International Criminal Court at The Hague have been returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo against their wish.

Lawyers for the asylum applicants confirmed that they were flown by a chartered flight to the DRC capital on Monday after failing to convince the ICC with their justification for asylum.

The Appeals Chamber at the ICC in January ruled that ordered Floribert Ndjabu, Pierre Celestin Mbodina and Sharif Manda Ndadza should return to Kinshasa after guarantees by the government of Joseph Kabila that the trio shall not be subjected to the death penalty.

The three had told the ICC that they may be harmed should they return to the DRC and therefore asked to be given political asylum.

They were at The Hague since 2011 to testify in the cases involving Congolese warlords Mathieu Ngudjolo and Germain Katanga and had incriminated President Kabila

The three were serving prison sentences in DRC before their invitation to testify at The Hague.

Meanwhile, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have condemned the decision to deny them amnesty, indicting to the government in the Netherlands that they could be harmed upon their return to DRC.

Katanga, whose case had been separated from Ngudjolo’s, was sentenced to 12 years in May for arming the ethnic militia that carried out the attack.

******************

All Africa News
written by Staff
Monday July 7, 2014

Arusha — The Dutch authorities have expelled three Congolese citizens who sought asylum in the Netherlands after testifying before the International Criminal Court, Hirondelle learned Monday.

The three ICC witnesses said they feared for their security if they were returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), whose president Joseph Kabila they accused in their testimonies.

Floribert Ndjabu, Pierre Célestin Mbodina and Manda Charif were sent back to their country on Sunday, according to an AFP report which quoted their lawyer Goran Sluiter.

Their expulsion marks the end of a three-year judicial headache for the ICC and its host country the Netherlands.

After a long procedure involving both the ICC and the authorities of the Netherlands, the Dutch Council of State decided on June 27 that the three witnesses could be sent back to the DRC.

The Dutch judges deemed that the DRC had provided enough guarantees with regard to their security, and notably a guarantee that they would not be sentenced to death.

Several NGOs had nevertheless called on the Dutch government not to send them back to the DRC. The three men had been held in a Dutch prison since June 4, after being held in the ICC Detention Facility since March 2011.

"It is disappointing that the Dutch government has decided to risk being complicit in possible human rights violations," Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner of Human Rights Watch told AFP.

No comments: